In 1977 the word “Roots” became a household word as people watched the book written by Alex Haley come to life on our TV screens. If you have a pain in your jaw that reacts to heat it generally means that you have an abscessed tooth, which calls for a “root canal“. When there is a problem in a group or company, the leader might say, “We need to get to the “root” of the problem. I have two beautiful Rose of Sharon bushes that have grown so tall I can see them from my second story window. The bush that bears the white blossoms was standing tall and straight along with the purple one, then we had several days of rain and it suddenly bent over, it’s proud branches curving back down toward the ground so I decided to examine it and see what was wrong. I found that a tiny vine had taken over in a manner that I couldn’t see because it was hidden among the leafy branches. Strong, strangling vines disguised as tiny tendrils had pulled this grand bush to the ground. Armed with my pruning scissors I attacked the vine pulling and cutting and getting stuck by thorns for my efforts trying to free this bush from the grasp of the strangling vine, and then I began the search for the root! Without taking this parasite out by the root it would simply come back to rule another day. I found it and severed it completely. Having done that the tree began to stand again and finally released from the grasp of the vine it just looked happy and relieved to breathe freely once more.
In our life we let things pull us down and over in just that same way. Things that look deceivingly small and harmless wind around our soul until we cannot breathe in the life and sunshine of the Holy Spirit, we fall over unable to stand. Hebrews 12:12-15 So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it! Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent (KJV says “root of bitterness”); a thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears. The time to stop “roots” in your life is when they are small and easily destroyed, whether it is bitterness, hatred, laziness to pump up your spiritual life in prayer and study before you are choked to death. Song of Solomon 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
So watch out. I’ve given you fair warning, cut yourself free with the Word of God!